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Fringe 2022: In Conversation with Izzy Parriss Productions

Before becoming a director, producer and founder of Izzy Parriss Productions, Izzy Parriss studied at the University of Edinburgh spending her free time running Candlewasters and directing and producing multiple productions in Paradok. Parriss has said that her involvement in theatre at Edinburgh University inspired her to go into a career in the field. In her third year at Edinburgh, she fell into Candlewasters after spontaneously applying for creative director, Parriss succeed and ended up directing an opera for EUSOG and put on three shows that fully inspired her to run a company like that in a professional world.

Now Parriss will be making her Edinburgh Fringe Festival debut with her production of Dear Little Loz written by Lauren-Nicole Mayes. I sat down with Izzy Parriss to find out more about the making of this amazing show.

Dear Little Loz is a semi-autobiographical play on a poetic rhythm consisting of a mix of prose and free-form poetry that time hops between 2006 and 2019. Parriss stated that Mayes has a strong interest in attachment theories and how these attachments influence and affect adult attachments, and so the play explores how elements in Loz’s adult life remind her of her childhood through flashback scenes that highlight particular moments in her life through sound or smell. These sensory reminders not only bring Loz’s childhood memories to life but allows the audience to think about sounds and smells that remind them of their own childhood.

“Throughout the play, we learn love is a tricky word to define”

Izzy Parriss

From Loz’s craving to have a father-daughter relationship throughout her life, to her yearning for romantic love in her adulthood, the theme of love runs throughout this play. Parriss explained how Loz’s innate craving for a relationship with her father, with whom she has a complex relationship, is universal, most people are impacted by the first father figure in their life and most people want to explore this connection with a father more. Humans crave connection and one of the most important things to us is a connection with our father. There are a lot of scenes within Dear Little Loz that are up for interpretation and so anyone in the audience can write in their own father figures, allowing everyone on and off stage to crave and remember their relationship with their fathers.

Parriss went on to explain her choice to make Dear Little Loz remain as a solo show; the play has had different versions and as the final version is going to Fringe, Parriss thought a small-scale theatre show would do better. The one-woman show also allows Mayes to play other characters through Loz’s eyes rather than distorting Loz’s story with false interpretations from other characters. Furthermore, Lauren-Nicole Mayes wrote this semi-biographical play and so it is only right that she tells the audience the story herself to ensure that they see the true interpretation. This is also Lauren-Nicole Mayes first full-scale production as a writer. Additionally, the play is semi-autobiographical and so “it is only natural for her to be the performer.”

The development process for Dear Little Loz took a year. Parriss told me the play has had nine lives and has been rewritten to the point where the initial draft is very different to the final version that will be performed at Fringe. This process has been collaborative between Mayes and Parriss, Lauren writes and Izzy reads it then they would come together to produce a scene that they both felt reflected and encompassed the ethos of Dear Little Loz and Izzy Parriss Productions. Mayes decision to mix prose and freeform poetry did make me curious, Parriss explained that she has seen a few plays before that have spoken word elements and that poetic writing is the natural style for Mayes who writes a lot for spoken poetry events. In Dear Little Loz, freeform poetry is used to make an intense and complex moment more emotive. And that the distinct rhythm of the play, even in prose consists of a spoken word structure.

Izzy Parriss concluded by saying that she hopes each individual in the audience comes out of Dear Little Loz with something different and takes away opinions about the play that she would never have thought of. Fringe is a launch pad for the play and so Parriss is treating the play as an experience to see how the audience’s response could influence changes to the play in preparation for Dear Little Loz’s tour around the North and London in 2023.

I myself can’t wait to see Dear Little Loz at this year’s Fringe! Get your tickets ASAP and go see Dear Little Loz at Surgeons Hall from 5th-27th August (excluding 14th) at 12 pm.

Image credit: Izzy Parriss Productions, provided to The Student as press material.